Evan Goodenow and Kiera Manion-Fischer, The Chronicle-Telegram
Two motorcyclists were killed in unrelated area crashes within hours of each other Sunday morning in a month dedicated to motorcycle safety.
The first crash happened in Eaton Township around 1:20 a.m. on state Route 82 west of Cowley Road when motorcyclist Curtis Porter III, of Valley City, was struck from behind by a 2008 Chevy Silverado driven by Kevin Runyon, according to a news release from Trooper Alan Marcum of the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Elyria post.
Porter, 37, was thrown from the motorcycle and died at the scene.
Runyon fled the scene in the Silverado, but returned a few minutes later, according to Marcum.
Sgt. Paul March, a supervisor at the Elyria post, said Marcum told him Runyon’s breath smelled of alcohol and Runyon failed a field sobriety test.
Runyon had a 0.146 blood alcohol content in a Breathalyzer test at the post — nearly twice the legal limit — and was charged with drunken driving, March said. More charges are expected.
Curt Porter Jr., Porter’s father, said his son used to live in Parma, but moved to his Crocker Road home in Valley City so he could have a bigger place and be closer to his parents.
He said Porter had been on his way home after hanging out with a group of his friends at a bar on Route 82 and added that Porter was always careful to not drink alcohol before riding his motorcycle.
Curt Porter said he holds no grudge against Runyon, who rear-ended Porter’s motorcycle.
“This poor kid,” he said. “He’s got to live with this the rest of his life. Everybody makes mistakes. I just hope that he learns from this.”
Porter graduated from North Olmsted High School in 1992 and enjoyed building cars, his father said. He never married.
“He was married to his cars,” said Jennifer Porter Eck, his sister. He loved NASCAR as well, she said.
Curt Porter said his son had been in the process of building a car that he planned to race at the Lorain County Speedway. Porter would have turned 38 on June 2, he added.
Craig Bontempo, 37, said he had been friends with Porter their entire lives. “I grew up with him,” Bontempo said. “We went through everything together.”
He said Porter recently helped him move into his new house.
Both worked together at the Chevrolet plant in Parma, Bontempo said.
Runyon, 23, of the 34000 block of Royalton Road in Columbia Township, has a history of citations for dangerous driving. In 2006, he was cited in separate incidents for speeding and driving across a grading. In 2007, he was cited for speeding. In 2008, he was cited for failure to control.
Porter was not wearing a helmet, according to the patrol. Adult motorcyclists in Ohio are not required to wear helmets, but police believe they save lives.
The investigation is continuing and further charges are pending.
The second motorcyclist was killed around 5:30 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 90. Police said James Knutti Jr., 34, of Bellevue, was eastbound when he struck a deer and was thrown from his motorcycle, according to a news release from the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Milan post. Knutti was then struck by an eastbound 2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer with Allen Jaglowski and his wife, Gloria Jaglowski, in it. The news release didn’t say who was driving the Trailblazer, but said the Jaglowskis were uninjured.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, and the patrol cautions drivers to be extra alert for motorcycles during warmer weather when they are traditionally ridden. From 2009 to 2011, motorcycle-involved crashes resulted in a total of 503 fatalities and over 11,400 injuries in Ohio, according to news release from the patrol.
In 2011 alone there were 167 motorcycle-related fatalities. Of the 167 fatalities, the motorcyclist was at fault 70 percent of the time, the patrol said.